As usual, I sat opposite Jo wondering, “How the hell did we get ourselves into this mess?”
The only word I could come up with was “Bao” (包 or “bun”), specifically “Xiao Long Bao” (小笼包 literally “little caged buns”).
Back home, “小笼包” were cute little dumplings the size of a ping pong ball and filled with hot soup and steamed pork… in other words, a pint sized piece of heaven.
True Story: In Singapore, Jo and I once went to a buffet and finished 50 of these monsters between the two of us.
It’s not pretty, but we do love our Xiao Long Baos.
That’s probably why Jo decided to give me a Xiao Long Bao treat after making me cycle up and down the Beibin Seashore Park (北濱公園) and Nanbin Seashore Park (南濱公園) in Hualien (花蓮) when I was already dead tired from the previous day’s strenuous exercise.
I present Exhibit A:
Long story short, we saw the words “小笼包” on the wall in the restaurant and immediately placed our order for 12 of them, along with a bowl of soup, a bowl of noodles, a bowl of rice and two HUGE ASS glasses of milk tea.
We figured we could still order more “小笼包”s if we were still hungry after.
Very obviously, the Hua Lien-ites have a very different concept of Xiao Long Bao from us Singaporeans.
In other news, Beibin Seashore Park (北濱公園) and Nanbin Seashore Park (南濱公園) are great places to spend an afternoon cycling through if you are in Hua Lien… at least that’s what Jo told me.
I’m pretty sure I sleep-cycled through some parts of the 40km route.